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Nuclear Spring?

Nuclear power station

Australians would prefer renewable energy sources over the nuclear option, but seem likely to accept nuclear power stations if it will help tackle climate change and improve energy security

By Deanne K. Bird, Katharine Haynes, Rob van den Honert and John McAneney

New research shows that the Australian public may accept nuclear energy if it will help tackle climate change.

Deanne K. Bird, Katharine Haynes, Rob van den Honert and John McAneney are with Risk Frontiers, Natural Hazards Research Centre at Macquarie University.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

In contrast to many other countries, and despite having large uranium reserves, Australia does not generate power from nuclear fission.

According to the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics, the production of energy for domestic consumption remains dominated by coal (39%), closely followed by oil (34.4%) and gas (21.4%), with renewable sources at only 5.4%. Australia does, however, export uranium and engage in a range of nuclear activities for medical, industrial, environmental and research purposes. These activities take place near Sydney at Lucas Heights, which is home to two nuclear reactors, only one of which remains in operation.

In 1972, efforts to build a nuclear power station at Jarvis Bay in NSW failed, and there have been no further attempts since. However, the arguments for and against nuclear power, from a range of sources including industry stakeholders, scientists and environmentalists, have continued to circulate.

In recent years the use of nuclear energy has been advocated, even by some environmentalists, as one means of helping to combat greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, as many countries signal their intentions to expand their nuclear energy capability, open political debate in Australia on this issue has been marked by a profound silence. This being the case, we investigated the public’s view on this issue....

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.